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Born in Texas. Raised in Mexico. Currently living in London. Having lived on a border for half of my life I've seen some of the best and worst of life. Studied politics and international relations to understand people and relationships. Living now as a technological cosmopolitan trying to use the power of tech and social media to improve the way the world works. Working at Yammer, the Enterprise Social Network, which is now part of Microsoft Office. Seeking to become a serious entrepreneur fixing broken ways of doing things. Once I can prove myself even more I hope to become an author.
Thank you Alex. I appreciate your opinion.
You're conceptually right regarding social media marketing, brand awareness, etc.. but I was writing more from the side of small groups of people in social media- whether it is a department in an IT firm or a small group of your most trusted friends.
An average of only 18% of your friends on Facebook ever read what you post. The algorithm on Facebook is structured in a very natural way. The more you interact with a friend the more Facebook will push their content towards you. Why? Because that's what you would expect in real life. You don't walk around spending most of your life with people you barely know, you spend it with your closest friends and family. For the grand majority of us, the content we publish on Facebook is not really meant for the consumption of hundreds of people.
That's why social networks have also seen the value of custom lists (Facebook) and circles (Google+) because they know that to survive they must adapt to our natural way of communicating, not the other way around.
You're right that most people are now very careful about what they post and that's a good thing! But most of us are not carrying a megaphone all the time because the people we really care about are few and it's not an issue to be yourself with them. We spend most of our time here, in this small comfy room.
Thank you Colin.
Small business is a great way to show how social media can be a natural transition for the owners. Instead of writing "ad style" people are much better off talking about their business as they would to someone walking through the door for the first time. Just because your message has a farther reach doesn't mean you need to turn into a drone with a scripted message. If you can have a civil and informative conversation when presenting your business or products to potential customers, then you should have no problem writing about it to hundreds or thousands of people on social networks.
"What can we do differently in our social media platforms to harness greater levels of engagement with others?"
This is such an important question! Especially dealing with offline engagement. I believe you've already answered it in so many ways and it fills me with encouragement to see people in social media thinking in these terms. We need more of this!
I would agree that the root is innately human.
Social media is simply a reflection of what we all as humans desire: communication, sociability, and openess. The problem arises when we expect social media to replace human interactions.
While it can be effective for many purposes, social media will never be effective in replacing that which has never found equal, the physical interaction of humans. As Isra suggests, true change will arise when social media finds a way to promote human interactions in the real world.
It has already been proven that many of us yearn to utilize social media for things that matter, things that should be challenged and changed. We have demonstrated that social media can result in a postive force able to pressure and transform events and people in the real world. However, this has happened not as a direct result of social media but that of individuals who know exactly what to spread, when to spread it, and how to spread it. This is nothing new, it's human.